The store chain Fred Meyer, a subsidiary of Ohio-based Kroger Company, announced on Monday that it will no longer sell guns or ammunition.
In a statement, the company announced, “Fred Meyer has made a business decision to exit the firearms category. We are currently working on plans to responsibly phase out sales of firearms and ammunition.”
No timeline was given, but Fred Meyer had already imposed restrictions a few weeks ago on selling guns and ammunition to anyone under 21 years old. Similar age limits were placed on buyers by Wal-Mart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and L.L. Bean in response to the February 14 mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
Fred Meyer did not mention the killing in its Monday announcement.
Instead, the company pointed to a “softening consumer demand” for the products, which generate annual sales of roughly $7 million for the firm. Fred Meyer operates in Alaska, Washington, Idaho and Oregon. The chain is based out of Portland, Oregon, and sells guns at 43 of it 132 stores.
A decline in nationwide gun sales had been trending after President Trump’s election, attributed to the administration’s support of Second Amendment rights and the eased minds of gun owners.
But after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas killings in February, Florida saw a surge in background checks for long guns in the same month — which increased by 12.6 percent in the state compared to last year’s numbers. Nationwide, February background checks were up 3.5 percent.
Background checks are seen as a barometer for guns sales, and gauged closely by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
A March 6 Bloomberg report stated that the fact politicians are considering “how and whether to rein in guns,” could be all for naught — but they say “companies are already acting.”
KeyBank Capital Markets analyst Brett Andress asserted that the rise in firearm purchases “beg(s) the question: Is fear-based buying back? Given all the recent headlines and rhetoric, we would argue yes, for the moment.”
The report also pointed to spikes in NICS checks following mass murders that occurred after the election of President Obama, the Sandy Hook killings, the San Bernardino murders, and the Orlando night club slayings. There was no surge in checks after the Las Vegas mass murder of October 2017.